« But what he (Ammianus Marcellinus) observed, as the empire slowly crumbled, was a loss of cultural moorings, a descent into febrile triviality. ‘In place of the philosopher the singer is called in, and in place of the orator the teacher of stagecraft, and while the libraries are shut up forever like tombs, water-organs are manufactured and lyres as large as carriages.’ »
Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve. How the world became modern. 2011.